For once it was a relatively easy journey to Heathrow. There are only three others in my Piccadilly line carriage and that makes for a pleasant contrast from when I catch the same train in rush hour every day heading off in the opposite direction to work.


My luck continues as the check in queue is non-existent. I still have nightmares over the huge queues there were last year when I was heading off to Hungary. Just imagine spending as much time queuing to check in as your entire flight time is!


You always look around to see if you can spot anyone who looks as if they are going on the same trip as you and though Paul spots a few Exodus tags, we’re still not sure if they are for the same tour or not.


Leg room on the flight is very generous, even in standard, non-emergency exit seats. Indeed, This holiday has started well so far!


Our luck runs out when we arrive at Casablanca to find that the connecting flight is running almost an hour late. Practically all the shops are shut and an apathy caused by being stuck in flight limbo hits us. We have a pack of cards but just can’t find the will to pass the time with them.


At one point we decide to pop out “land-side” and change some of our money (as all of the exchange facilities are out there with none air side.)


The woman at the information desk gives us the impression that this would be okay. The stern passport controller makes it plainly obvious, despite not speaking English, but by the raised, disapproving tone of his voice, that this isn’t acceptable. We scoot back upstairs with his eyes (and thick eyebrows) burning holes in our backs.


Bizarrely the flight information screens are located away from the seating areas but this gives us an excuse to pass the time walking up and down playing “guess who’s on our trip” which isn’t particularly hard as probably every non-Moroccan in the terminal is in our group! We realise this rather quickly when we finally arrive at our destination, Ouarzazate.


Here we’re met by our local guide, Mohammed, who speaks good English, and get a first glance at the mini-bus that will become our mode of transport for the rest of the trip. I secretly hope that it’s just the hotel transfer bus but no such luck!


A few of the girls are disappointed by the fact that the (in their words) “hunky” Exodus rep on the flight isn’t travelling with us. And I thought that Paul and I would be more than enough!?


The hotel isn’t far away and the room is “compact and bijou.” Despite this they still manage to fit a table and two chairs at the foot of our beds. It’s a bit claustrophobic and having just spent the past few hours in confined spaces (bus included) I feel the compulsion to rearrange the table and chairs, Changing Rooms style,  into the corner of the room out of the way to make the room (in my mind at least) feel more spacious. The beds are comfy though and the hot shower works well too. We sleep well, all set to meet the rest of the group in the morning and for our trip to start in earnest.